Hospital Bag Reflections

September 23, 2012

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Now that our hospital stay has come and gone, were we prepared? Absolutely!! I felt I packed just the right amount of things. There were just a few things we wish we had brought – nothing we wish we had left at home! See everything we packed in this post.

Glad We Brought

Tablet – So nice to have for multi-internet-friendly families. When Maze was sleeping (and we were not also sleeping or eating!) we were glad to have both a laptop and a tablet to share. It was great for its portability, and even better for video chatting with family members who weren’t there!

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Swaddle blankets – The hospital blankets were stiff, and even the nurses told us they were terrible for swaddling. We brought 2 aden + anais receiving blankets and were very glad to have them for both swaddling and photography. And I think every single doctor and staff member who came in our room commented on how cute the bees and owls were!

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Robe – I was very happy with my robe and PJ pants outfit. The pants weren’t a problem at all, and the robe gave me the perfect amount of coverage when our family was visiting. I was VERY eager to get out of the hospital gown!!

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Nursing bras – I am a bra wearer and was very glad I packed a few sleep-style nursing bras – plus a more substantial one for my going home outfit. Wish I had bought even more in advance!

Food, bread, beer – My hospital meals were good and plentiful, so Matt usually ate about 1/3 of my tray, but we were glad to have snacks for him too. He made sandwiches on our bread and also got a few salads from the cafeteria.

Camera + video – So glad we lugged in the big camera. Those first photos are priceless, as were the first videos we took. Yes, we’re a technology obsessed family and are not ashamed of all the gadgets we brought in because we used them all!

Boppy – This made nursing SO much easier, and I also sat on it a few times. My bottom was so sore and swollen that sitting in the hospital bed all day seemed to make it worse, so the boppy was great for that. When I got home, I realized I liked My Brest Friend better for nursing, but the boppy was fine for the early days.

Extra pillows – We brought two extras that we packed at the last minute and were glad to have them. The hospital had an extra one for Matt, but ours were extra comfy. Could have left them at home and been fine though, as they were a lot to carry in.

Outfits for his photos – The hospital shirt was plain white and a 3-6 month size – too big for him! I was glad we packed our own hats and outfits to make his first photographs a bit more colorful : )

Toiletries/makeup/jewelry – I totally put on make-up and jewelry during my stay. It made me feel more normal and less like a patient. And I loved having my fancy Rose toiletries. Maze didn’t seem affected by my delicious smelling hair when he nursed, but I sure was!

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Fleece – I never got cold, but Matt did, so we were glad he brought his fleece jacket.

Nursing Tanks – Great pack. I wore them all!

Nursing Cover – I used this when our family was visiting and I needed to breastfeed. Otherwise they would have all had to leave the room during our party. Glad I had it!

Burp Cloths – We could have just used something in the hospital – a wash cloth – but it was nice to have a few of our pretty burp cloths to use.

Nursing Pads – Used these on day 3 when my milk came in. Very glad I had them or I would have leaked everywhere!!

Thin Pads – Many of you told me these would not be heavy enough, and for the first day they were not. I rocked out the mesh undies and loved the giant hospital pads. But by the middle of day 2, the giant hospital pads were almost too bulky for my swelling and my thin super extra ultra overnight thin pads were way more comfortable – and plenty absorbent!

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Things To Leave At Home

Mom hygiene – Anything related to healing they had plenty of. Numbing spray, Tucks pads, pads (although see my comment about thin pads above). I was happy to wear the mesh undies and didn’t use my throw-away Target ones until I got home, so bringing all 6 pairs wasn’t really necessary : )

Medicines – I didn’t know what the hospital would have, but they told me NOT to take my prenatals while I was there (although they didn’t give me any..) I didn’t pack any medicines like pain relievers, and I’m glad I didn’t because the hospital had all of that stuff. Figures because they specialize in medicine and healing : )

Diapers/wipes – Again, didn’t know what they would have, but they had plenty of diapers, wipes and baby care products like shampoo.

Slippers – I never wore my slippers. I probably could have, but I just put on my flip flops when walking around.

Matt Bathing Suit – As predicted, he totally didn’t get in the tub with me : )

Baby 411 Book – Didn’t pick it up. I had nurses to ask if I had questions, and in free time I was reading emails or relaxing, not reading books.

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We Could Have Used

Nipple Soothies – My doctor recommended these for nipple soreness and Matt went down to the lactation corner to buy some. I’d have some on hand in advance!

Hair dryer – I didn’t really need one and it would have been a pain to pack, but our hospital didn’t have one and my hair had to air dry.

Versatile Footware For Matt – He came in his Toms and wished he had brought some slip ons because he did a lot of shoe tying between getting in and out of bed and going out of the room.

Headphones – Matt said he wished we had them at one point when he was editing video, but probably not that necessary.

More Fruit – Matt also said he wished we had brought more fruit, but I guess this was easily purchased in the cafeteria too, so not a big deal.

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As you can see, our “glad we brought these” vastly outweighed the “didn’t needs” and “wish we hads.”

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Presley @ Run Pretty September 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Our camera and laptop were the best things we packed. My mom brought me gum and magazines. Those were nice to have, too. All the true essentials were provided. :)

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2 Averie @ Averie Cooks September 23, 2012 at 3:06 pm

What a post – I swear my hospital bag had almost nothing in it. I pretty much just showed up, had a baby, and packed up about 8 hours later and we went back home! We were in and out! The only thing I wish I had was…food! I thought, oh, it’s’ a hospital, they will bring me whatever food I want. Okay, they did sort of, but there choices were very limited, and I was starving after delivery and it just wasn’t cutting it!

I am totally a bra wearer too and was wearing nursing bras at the end of my pregnancy so that was key to have on and with. We had a camera, outfit for baby, clean change of clothes for hubs and I, and that was about it. It was soooo low key. The only time in my life Ive ever underpacked :)

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3 Christina September 23, 2012 at 3:32 pm

We were only in the hospital for 24 hours total so packing ended up being a non-issue. A robe is a great idea though and I will use it next time! I would only add pain relievers to the list because when we got our bill they charged me $75 for my one dose of Advil!

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4 Julia September 23, 2012 at 4:47 pm

When you say that your milk came in on day 3, does that mean that you had to wait to breastfeed until then? Before then did they have bottles ready for him? I’m completely ignorant on this. Sounds pretty amazing how the body clicks into feeding gear!

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5 KERF September 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm

No they drink the colostrum before then :) It’s really concentrated and isn’t like regular breast milk – kind of like heavy cream and has all the really good antibodies in it. The milk that comes in is more like 2% milk and “comes in” aka your milk turns from colostrum to regular breast milk within days of giving birth. It’s quite amazing!

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6 Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries September 23, 2012 at 8:06 pm

This was great! I’m pinning this to use when our little one makes its grand entrance into the world!

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7 Lauren September 23, 2012 at 9:01 pm

So the PJ bottoms didn’t interfere with any post-birth checks by the nurses? I really need to start packing my own hospital bag, and I’ve been debating whether pants are practical or not. I am not a gown person, so pajama bottoms sound much more comfy and appealing.

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8 KERF September 23, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Nope, no one had to look down there. Just felt my belly

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9 KERF September 23, 2012 at 9:16 pm

And I’m glad because I was way too sore to be touched!

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10 Claire September 24, 2012 at 8:26 am

This must vary, because the doctors/nurses checked me two or three times while I was in the hospital (I had third degree tears). Plus, I’ve heard if you have a c-section, an elastic waistband would be very painful to wear.

I wasn’t in the hospital long (I can’t imagine being there three days! I would have been crawling up the walls by then), and I didn’t bring much, and I barely used what I did bring! Just my camera, laptop, some toiletries, and the outfit we dress our baby in to come home, and that was about it! The hospital had everything else we needed. But I tend to be pretty minimalist and low-maintenance! :)

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11 Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles September 24, 2012 at 9:08 am

AGREE!!!

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12 Donna September 23, 2012 at 9:25 pm

I’m amazed (and surprised) you were in the hospital as long as you were with what seemed like a pretty routine delivery! I thought with those they sent you home asap, sometimes even the next day.

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13 KERF September 23, 2012 at 9:39 pm

My insurance gives 2 nights and since he was born at 3 am, we got a really long 2 nights

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14 Kay September 26, 2012 at 4:23 am

I’m in the UK, so don’t understand the health insurance system. Does that mean that you HAVE to stay in for 2 nights, even if you feel comfortable with going home? That would drive me mad!

My first was born in the afternoon, and I stayed in overnight, mainly because, well, she was my first, so I wanted as much help and advice as possible before I went home.

My second was born at 2am and I was out of the hospital at 10am. I was just desperate to get home and sleep/nurse in my own bed!

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15 KERF September 26, 2012 at 5:29 am

I don’t think they can make you stay, but we were very glad to!

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16 Amanda Perry @ Sistas of Strength September 24, 2012 at 8:03 am

Awesome post and super helpful for moms to be. I agree with pretty much everything you said!!! :)

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17 Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles September 24, 2012 at 9:08 am

I would have been lost without my hair drier, make up, & jewlrey. Anything to make a mom feel good about herself is a MUST HAVE when you’re a new mom & not feeling so hot + the visitors and photos…

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18 Lindsay September 24, 2012 at 11:27 am

Where did you get the bee swaddled blanket? I love it.

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19 KERF September 24, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Babies r us… In a four pack with turtles and owls

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20 Angelica September 24, 2012 at 8:17 pm

They look like aden+anais blankets–the best!!

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21 Jennifer September 24, 2012 at 1:10 pm

How come they didn’t want you to take your prenatal vitamins?? Are you taking them again now that you’re back home?

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22 KERF September 24, 2012 at 2:13 pm

No idea… maybe just medicine unknowns? Yes I am taking them now

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23 Nancy September 24, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Hospitals normally don’t want you taking your home meds unless you have special permission to do so. You wouldn’t believe what some people try to smuggle in to take extra. Usually this isn’t a problem with new moms, but that is why these type of policies get written and enforced.

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24 KERF September 24, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Yeah, that’s why I didn’t protest. I guess I could have taken them anyway, but I wanted to follow the rules :)

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25 Natasha September 24, 2012 at 6:57 pm

I always get my doc to order me prescription prenatals during the hospital stay so the nurse can administer and that way everyone knows what I am taking in. I am anemic so I like to keep taking my iron even those few days in the hospital. You can ask and they will give you just about anything you might need as long as your OB will write the order.

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26 Andrea @ The Skinny Chronicles September 24, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Oooh. I am getting excited and giddy to pack our hospital bag. Trying to hold out to 36 or 37 weeks to pack. Thanks for all the helpful hints.

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27 Amy September 25, 2012 at 2:45 pm

What are the Rose bath products you mentioned?

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28 KERF September 25, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Le Labo Rose #31 – I got them at a hotel in Seattle and they are super expensive but heavenly!

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29 CeCe September 26, 2012 at 12:06 am

I’ve only been married seven months, so I’m still a few years from kids (if things go according to plan), but I find your blog fascinating and I’ve just found my new resource for when I do come across that time. Great post.

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30 Leila @ Spinach and Skittles September 27, 2012 at 10:22 pm

I LOVE this post! I’ve packed, and re-packed, my bag a gazillion times because I can’t decide what I’ll really need. But I’d rather bring too much than not enough!

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31 Atsuko May 27, 2013 at 10:30 pm

This is a very helpful post as I am going to prepare for my hospital bag. I will see our baby boy in 5 weeks. One question I have for you. Do you know if a hospital provide a formula bottle if I can not produce any milk for the baby?

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